an author of whatauthor |ˈôTHər|(abbr.: auth. )

a writer of a book, article, or report: he is the author of several books on the subject.
• someone who writes books as a profession: my favourite authors are Kurt Vonnegut and Aldous Huxley.
• the writings of such a person: I had to read authors I disliked.
• an originator or creator of something, esp. a plan or idea: the authors of the peace plan.

verb [ with obj. ]

be the author of (a book or piece of writing): she has authored several articles on wildlife.
• be the originator of; create: the concept has been authored largely by insurance companies.

You may well wonder why I’m starting my grumble today with a dictionary definition. It is due to my dismay at the number of social media profiles that are popping up like daises in spring on my timelines that start with this new classic abomination.

‘An Author of Books’

Is this the dumbed down CNN version designed to be understood by four year olds? Or is it the confused mind of those who think they will be mistaken for the above mentioned author of a peace plan?  Or perhaps there is a concern that classifying oneself as simply an author may be misconstrued and people might confuse this appendage as possibly meaning an author of insurance policies. 

While it could be argued that there are one or two rarely used meanings of this noun, one could safely assume that 99.99% of rational human beings understand what an author does. An author writes books.

I don’t see other worthwhile professionals announcing to the world that the are a ‘Plumber of Pipes’, ‘Carpenter of Wood’, Banker of Money’ or ‘Manager of People’.

But for those who believe the world is full of dunderheads who can’t figure out what an author does and insist on adding this ‘of books’ appendage to their title of an author, why not at least try to be a bit more descriptive. More information would really help us know who you really are and what you really do. So what about trying these helpful suggestions.

‘Author of really awful books full of very bad usage of English nouns.’

‘Author of what I think are books, but I’m not sure because I’ve only just started learning writting.’

‘Author of those things, you know, things with covers and pages.’

‘Author of stuff that goes into ebooks of Kindle.’

‘Author of books. One day. When I learn to write proper like.’

‘Author of books who has never opened a dictionary, consulted a grammar reference book or ever heard of a Style Guide.’

This malicious writing was written by a writer, who writes.

An Author Of What?
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5 thoughts on “An Author Of What?

  • 05/03/2012 at 4:16 pm

    the other way folk on sites like Facebook use the word ‘author’ makes me cringe equally as much – I give you Joe Bloggs Author, or, Author Joe Bloggs.

    Its almost as bad as the idiots who say to someone foolish enough to mention that they write – “Would I have read anything you’ve written?”

    Give me strength!!!

  • 05/03/2012 at 11:05 pm

    It almost seems like “of books” is not only silly, it is also outdated. We really need to add blogging, tweeting and promotional videos to the list. To exist as an author of… these days, you need to be a well rounded content creator.

    • 06/03/2012 at 9:39 am

      Exactly Andrew. To get your work noticed, you have to do far more these days than merely write a story worth reading. :)

      • 06/03/2012 at 6:23 pm

        So that leaves us with the sixty-four-thousand-dollar question – what is the right way to get noticed?
        Blasting out tweet links to a book just confirms for the reader that you are one of those desperate, starving, author wannabes who spend their days soaking up the free wi-fi at the local Starbucks.

        You always have excellent graphics with your ‘Goblin Tales” updates. I think that helps (it makes me wonder if you have connections with a graphic design firm). The steady pace of communication about the project also helps to keep up interest.

        Derek’s regular posts are effective, if one reader’s experience can be considered typical. After perhaps four or five months of regular visits to the Vandal, I finally picked up ‘Hal” and took the step from blog fan to book fan. I will probably pick up ‘Louis” next (unless there is a sequence to them – Derek?). I wonder if there has ever been a study of coversion rates – fans of an author’s blog to his/her books.

        Sales have no impact on my choices. I seem to recall that Derek had ‘Louis” on free promo a few days back and I didn’t pick it up. I will buy it when I’m ready to start another book because I feel it’s still a bargain at the regular price.

  • 06/03/2012 at 2:33 pm

    I just filed my income tax and I hesitated over whether to start putting “author” or “writer” as my occupation. However, since I haven’t sold enough books to get a royalty payment yet, I chickened out and again put simply “Retired”! Oh, well, maybe next year …

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